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Sweet Whispers, Brother Rush by Virginia…
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Sweet Whispers, Brother Rush (1982)

by Virginia Hamilton

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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266764,898 (3.5)9
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    When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead (kaledrina)
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    One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia (kaledrina)
    kaledrina: Similar relationships of main character to mother.
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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
Kind of a weird tale this one. Tree (14) is technically under the care of her mother (M'Vy) but she only drops in once a week or so to leave food and say hello, otherwise, she is absent, leaving Tree to care for her mentally handicapped slightly older brother (Dab) alone. As the book opens, Tree starts seeing a ghost. The ghost is M'Vy's long dead brother, Brother Rush. He visits Tree in a small room in their apartment. He doesn't talk to her, but shows her visions of the past, when she was a small child.
Dab, meanwhile, is getting more and more sick with a mysterious illness that makes him hurt all over his body, and be unable to keep any food down. M'Vy eventually has to take charge and actually DO something to take care of her handicapped son, who she has always blamed for his own mental state.
Told in third person, but with all focus on Tree's thoughts and actions, it is a deeply introspective, but terribly slow moving book. The transitions from real-world to ghost-visions are sometimes a little confusing. It took a while to get into the book, but it never fully grabbed me. I don't regret reading it, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone else particularly. ( )
  fingerpost | May 13, 2019 |
This story takes place in a small Midwestern city, in Southwestern Ohio. Fourteen-year old Sweet Teresa Pratt, better known as Tree, lived alone and takes care of her “somewhat retarded” older brother, Dabs (short for Dabney), whom she loves with fierce devotion. Her mother, Sweet Muh Vy (short for Viola), works and brought food and money to their fatherless family. One day, Tree encounters the ghost of her uncle (her mother’s dead brother) which calls himself, Brother Rush. She entered into “his space” and could see and revive her forgotten childhood experiences and past events: specifically her father, who left the family, mother Vy, who abused Dabs, and Brother Rush, who possibly committed suicide. While Tree was assimilating these past events, Dabs became ill with porphyria and died. Tree found it hard to accept Dab’s death, and her mother’s new boyfriend. She planned to run away. Her mother gave Tree her freedom but admitted to terrible guilt about leaving the children alone while she worked.
Review:
In this young adult novel, fourteen-year-old Tree feels abandoned and sometimes resentful for her mother’s frequent absences. The theme speaks about the intense need for the love and presence of working mothers expressed by adolescent daughters. Hamilton shows how a mother-daughter relationship is constructed in the context of an African- American family structure. The author’s writing style is true to the roots of African American culture. The dialog among the characters is in the tradition of the African-American culture; which is written in African American Vernacular English (AAVE). Even though this book received numerous awards it was difficult to read AAVE and interpret what the author was trying to say.
Award:
A Newberry Honor Book
Coretta Scott King Award for author, 1983
ALA Best Book for Young Adults
ALA Notable Children’s Books, 1983
Parent’s Choice Awards, 1982
Boston Globe Horn Book Award
American Book Awards Honor Book ( )
  ydestura | Apr 6, 2012 |
Brother Rush first appeared to Teresa on the street corner.

“The stone finest dude Tree had ever seen in her short life of going on 15 years.”

Later on she came to realize Brother Rush was a ghost.

All of her young fifteen year old life, Teresa had been taking care of her older retarded brother Dab, while their mother M’Vy spend weeks away from home to earn a living. Why has Teresa been chosen to see the ‘mystery? What secrets has Brother Rush come to reveal? Why did he pick this time in her life to show himself and should Teresa follow him to wherever he might take her? ( )
  victorianist | Mar 2, 2011 |
Why had he come to her, with his dark secrets from a long-ago past? What was the purpose of their strange, haunting journeys back into her own childhood? Was it to help Dab, her retarded older brother, wracked with mysterious pain who sometimes took more care and love than Tree had to give? Was it for her mother, Vy, who loved them the best she knew how, but wasn't home enough to ease the terrible longing? Whatever secrets his whispered message held, Tree knew she must follow. She must follow Brother Rush through the magic mirror, and find out the truth. About all of them.
  archerje | Dec 5, 2009 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Virginia Hamiltonprimary authorall editionscalculated
Dillon, DianeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dillon, LeoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The first time Teresa saw Brother was the way she would think of him ever after.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0380651939, Paperback)

Why had he come to her, with his dark secrets from a long-ago past? What was the purpose of their strange, haunting journeys back into her own childhood? Was it to help Dab, her retarded older brother, wracked with mysterious pain who sometimes took more care and love than Tree had to give? Was it for her mother, Vy, who loved them the best she knew how, but wasn't home enough to ease the terrible longing?

Whatever secrets his whispered message held, Tree knew she must follow. She must follow Brother Rush through the magic mirror, and find out the truth. About all of them.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:58 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Fourteen-year-old Tree, resentful of her working mother who leaves her in charge of a retarded brother, encounters the ghost of her dead uncle and comes to a deeper understanding of her family's problems.

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